ProStore users need to decide now whether to migrate their stores before or after the holiday shopping season. Any move will affect your search traffic, and a move handled poorly could cost you all your incoming links.
Move Now or After Holiday Shopping?
Regardless of when you move your store, there will be an impact on your search traffic. Bill Hartzer, Senior SEO Strategist at Globerunner, advises:
Moving to another platform, for any site, it typically can take up to about 2 to 3 months before you see the search engines’ changes to your site move. They’ll notice right away, and start indexing your pages, but it can take up to 3 months before everything is moved over from an SEO perspective (traffic, pages indexed, etc.).
Now would be the time to start moving, since it would be about September/October when everything is complete from an SEO perspective.
IMPORTANT: Since it is the middle of the summer, the slow season for most, I would go ahead and move right away. Frankly, I would probably keep the ProStore up and running, and start migrating over to SureDone. Since the SureDone platform integrates with eBay and Amazon, then it’s a better choice.
Where Should You Move Your Store?
As you have no choice but to move and take that risk, why not use this move to increase your sales? While eBay is recommending Magento or BigCommerce, there is another choice to seriously consider: SureDone.
The reason is that SureDone is not just another store. It enables you to manage inventory on multiple sites including your own store, eBay, and Amazon. Expanding to another platform will increase your income and insulate you from a potential calamity should eBay decide to delete your store or remove any of your listings.
Why Would eBay Delete Your Store?
It happens more often than you’d think. Sometimes it is because you made an innocent mistake. Sometimes it is because eBay decides to change their policies about what you can sell.
Search for eBay purge and you’ll see that eBay regularly deletes sellers who have no reason to believe they have ever done anything wrong. Here is just one example:
“All my 1600 listings were removed. WOW, my life flashed before my eyes, my heart stopped, I cried. I have not slept in weeks. Family business was ruined. My feedback score is 99.3% and my DSR’s (Detailed Seller Rating’s) are very high. I just logged in and I received top rated seller status this month! “Congratulations for all your hard work! You are a top rated seller!” However, I can’t sell. It was like being put on a performance plan at work for 60 days and being fired the next day. My dream was always to own my own business gone in an instant.” ~ Knn3sales eBay ripped my heart out – MC999 Indefinite Suspension – eBay seller purge
If she had her inventory in SureDone when that happened, she would have also had it in her own store and could immediately upload it to Amazon as other SureDone customers have done. One had just uploaded his entire store the day before eBay deleted it all!
Advantages to Owning Your Own Store
The obvious advantage is that you don’t pay any commissions on your sales. You have control over your domain and where what you do in social media, email, and online communities link.
With your own storefront, you won’t be sending anyone where all your competitors are when you share on social media or get coverage online. Visitors will only see your products.
Is Magento Right for You?
Magento is eliminating their smaller option (Magento Go) to focus on the Magento Community and Magento Enterprise versions.
Enterprise is a term used to describe software suitable for major corporations. According to nChannel in May 2013: “Annual fees start at $15,550 while the premium version starts at $49,990 annually.” (These prices are over a year old and may have changed.) They provide a comparison of the Magento Community and Enterprise editions here.
This is what the Magento site has to say about the Community Edition:
Magento Community Edition is perfect if you’re a developer or tech-savvy merchant that wants to explore the flexibility of the Magento platform. You canmodify – and even contribute to – the core code and engage with our passionate community for support and guidance.
Magento Go was the version most small businesses with up to 10,000 skews would have used – but it is no longer available. Magento is known for their steep learning curve. It is said to be “difficult to modify and customize“.
Unless you are highly technical and have a very large eBay store, in my opinion Magento is not a good choice for most people. Read more in Magento Community Edition for Small Business and Modest Budgets – Stay Clear!
What About Big Commerce?
Even eBay realizes Magento may not be suitable for most ProStores users so they are also recommending their competitor BigCommerce.
There is very limited information about migrating or costs on the BigCommerce Support FAQ page about migrating from ProStores. A call to their toll free number indicated that they will assist in migrating.
While BigCommerce can push listings to eBay, it does not sync with it without the use of a third party app. Here is the detail from BigCommerce support:
“The Bigcommerce integration with eBay can push products from your store to eBay’s listings, and receive order information from eBay for those products. The product information is only pushed one way and does not sync later, so if you want inventory, price, and other product information to sync in real time, you may want to consider using a multichannel-listing app.”
You would also need to pay for a third party app if you wanted to integrate BigCommerce with Amazon.
What Will It Cost to Move?
Magento, Big Commerce and SureDone are all offering assistance with the migration and discounts off their usual pricing. If you do not migrate correctly you could lose your existing incoming links and traffic. Many ecommerce solutions providers are offering migration services for a fee.
Because I believe SureDone is the better choice (as did Bill Hartzer in the quotes above), I know that they are not charging for migration and are offering $50 off their monthly cost for up to 2500 skews and $100 off for larger stores. SureDone published a post on these three ProStores Alternatives yesterday that contains more details.
If you can manage your inventory in one place and keep it synced across your custom store and eBay and Amazon, why have only one store? Why risk losing all your hard work? This is an easy decision.